Furnace Road Studio logo
Janos Enyedi
Furnace Road Studio
images of industry
family history
why industry
news updates


Fire Escape, Souvenir Washington, PA, wall relief, handfolded paper and basswood fire escape  

Janos’ fascination with the American industrial landscape started as a child on the south side of Chicago. Traveling by car with his parents at dusk, they passed a steel mill belching smoke and fire into the darkening sky. The mill sat along side a large pond covered with algae of brilliant effervescent green. The image both frightened and intrigued him. He was awed by the power and the magnitude of that quickly passing scene.

Many years later, those memories were rekindled on a road trip to visit family in Ohio. Driving across the countryside of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania the scenery changed from rural landscape to the waning rust belt.

In Washington, PA a particular image burned into Enyedi’s memory. An hour before sundown, on that autumn afternoon, the low brilliant sun cast a stark shadow against a vast wall of steel corrugation. At the upper corner of the wall that was approximately 40 feet tall, was a lone door, the only entrance or exit to a steel fire-escape. The fire escape was painted a fading orange, the wall a flat, pale gray. The intense shadow of the fire escape against the rows of crimped metal, the loneliness and strangeness of the single door was seared into his esthetic senses.

On returning from the family visit, Janos felt compelled to recreate that image. He did not use pen, pencil or paint – at least not in the usual way. Instead, he created a three-dimensional likeness by hand-folding crisp sheets of paper. Using an exacto knife, he lightly scored each side of the paper, folding back and forth until he had a kind of accordion surface, which he then carefully glued to a sheet of illustration board. He painted it “battle-ship gray”. With the corrugated wall simulated, Enyedi took thin strips of basswood and painstakingly constructed the fire escape painting it “paprika accent orange”.

The door was replicated by cutting the form from illustration board and backing the 9-paned window with glass. All was done to scale, as was the fire escape and corrugation. Only the door and one flight of stairs were articulated but the simple beauty and sharp contrasts were captured.

On completion of the process, Janos said, “I know what I am going to concentrate on for the rest of my (artistic) life.” See "Fire Escape-SouvenirFirescape Souvenir–Washington, PA " above.

The images seen in the Memories Of Milltown catalogue and those shown here, in the portfolio section show the extent to which those first memories proved a fertile ground of inspiration and promoted a multitude of methods to produce a prodigious body of artwork.

He used hand-rubbed, powdered graphite in Red Factory, and simulated skid plate by cutting diamond shapes from illustration board, carefully gluing each to a drawn grid making a convincing steel 3-D frame, also seen in Heartland Souvenir.
Rust is created through meticulous washes of acrylic, graphite and sometimes layers of spray paint. In Rust Belt Elegy, actual rust is created on the illustration board-constructed town and “old mill” by applying a coating of iron filings in emulsion and “hitting” it with a highly toxic kicker.

He has returned to classical rendering in charcoal, drawing on his imagination in the creation of Milltown Across the River, Bend in the River, Halcyon Days and Milltown Flats. Each celebrating the work – place and the lives spent there.

Recently, Janos added the computer to his store of artistic tools. In Stack City, Slice of Life Day and Slice of Life Night Janos created the skies on the computer and hand-constructed the buildings.

His last exhibitions have relied heavily on digital photography. Made in America was mainly a portrait of the vanishing mills of the Bethlehem Steel Works in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Working on the Water, captured the many thriving industries along the James and Elizabeth Rivers – the movement of those goods from port to port in the Hampton Roads region. Work Boats, focuses on tug boats, sea-going container ships, tankers, oceanliners. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, documented the construction of the 6 lane draw bridge on U.S. Interstate 95, spanning the Potomac River south of Washington, DC.

By Diana Enyedi, who was there.
(written 2007)


Washington Post review, AFL-CIO exhibit

Jessica Dawson
Steely Intensity

I could scarcely believe my eyes while looking at Janos Enyedi’s wall sculptures at the AFL-CIO. The artist transforms thin sheets of illustration board into remarkable facsimiles of iron and steel; a thick coating of graphite turns the thin board so convincingly to steel that I had to touch it (with staff permission) to believe it. Tiny models of corrugated sheds, trains and I-beams hang on their own as relief sculptures or are attached to prints of painted renditions of factories, smoke stacks and bridges. Each piece is a three-dimensional elegy to the vanishing industrial landscape. Enyedi’s strongest piece, “Cleveland Flats – 3:00 a.m.” is an all black relief incorporating silos, and grids that makes an especially elegant epitaph for the industrial age. The work is on the eighth floor so you’ll have to ask a staff member for an escort.
Please do.

Janos Enyedi’s “Working Spaces – Working Places: Images of the American Industrial Landscape” at the AFL-CIO, 815 16th Street, NW, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to - 5:00 p.m. through Feb. 6, 2003




return to: top of page    email: eunlimitedcom@tampabay.rr.com
Copyright © 2012 Diana K. Enyedi   All rights reserved